I couldn’t get my kids to eat enough fiber until they tried this.
Reviewed by Dietitian Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., RD
I grew up in the South, so comfort food will always have a special place in my life. And now, with the days getting shorter and the welcome crispness in the air, it's officially comfort food season. Cue: mac and cheese, casseroles and stews.
Now, what if I told you comfort food can be packed with nutritious ingredients, easy to prepare with whatever is available in your kitchen and will make the whole family happy? If this sounds too good to be true, stay with me. As a mom of young twins, I know what dinnertime can look like some (most) nights when it feels like a race against the clock to pull together a meal. Meet my version of comfort food: Kale and White Bean Pot Pie with Chive Biscuits.
This recipe first appeared in a story in EatingWell magazine called, "Comfort Greens," where we stuffed all your comfort food favorites—meatloaf, baked potatoes, stuffed shells and pot pie—with tons of greens. The greens included spinach, collards, Swiss chard and kale, and each recipe took the original version of a beloved comfort food and gave it an ample green boost. This pot pie was one of my contributions to that feature, and I still love making it.
Before diving into the recipe details, do what I do and survey the scene in your fridge and pantry. This recipe adapts well to just about anything you want to throw in there, and I'll help guide you through this. Consider this recipe a base to build on—there are infinite ways to scale back to make it faster and reflect your family's unique needs.
With a few tweaks I'll walk you through, this pot pie is even easier to prepare. While the recipe says this dish takes 45 minutes of active time, if you used prepared biscuits and pre-chopped kale, it can take as little as 20 minutes. Then it just bakes while you have a glass of wine. Or if you want to make the kale-and-white-bean base ahead of time, such as the night before or in the morning, simply add the biscuits and bake it up for dinner that evening. The kale-and-white-bean base freezes well too, so you could even make a double batch and cook half for dinner and freeze the rest for another dinner later. Your future self will thank you!
One of the anchors of this dish is the biscuit topping. Spend any time in the South, and you'll realize biscuits are ubiquitous, so I'm still always looking for an excuse to incorporate them into meals. While I make a homemade biscuit in this recipe with chives and buttermilk, you can take shortcuts here. Grab Pillsbury Grands or Annie's Organic Flaky Biscuits to keep in the fridge to cut down on time and dishes in this recipe, and you'll still get a super-flaky, tasty vehicle to soak up this pot pie.
Greens! I know the battle of incorporating greens into meals (see twins mentioned above), but this meal dresses them up super tasty. In this recipe, I use kale, but try spinach, Swiss chard, cabbage, collard greens or any mixture of those greens. You could even use frozen kale or spinach, but you will want to thaw the frozen greens separately and drain out the excess water before throwing them into your pot pie.
Growing up in a Chinese household, we never ate raw vegetables—we cooked all of our veggies. So, a pot pie like this is the perfect recipe for me to stick to my roots and throw anything I have—carrots, celery, peas—all into this pot of goodness. If you have additional veggies in your fridge or freezer, feel free to throw them in and make this pot pie your own.
The element that ties this recipe together is the beans. What other fibrous protein is just sitting in your pantry, needs minimal prep and can be dressed up with any flavor profile other than beans? If you are not getting enough fiber (90% to 97% of Americans are not), beans are always my recommendation. I chose white beans in this recipe, but chickpeas would be an excellent substitute. And if you have cooked chicken or sausage left over feeling lonely in the fridge, throw that in the pot pie, too.
Comfort food isn't a guilty pleasure in my home—it's in my Southern roots and my values as a chef to cook good food that makes you feel good. It's the perfect dish to make your own. Making it yours is all about customizing your pot pie with ingredients you know you'll love. With delicious flavors, customizable elements and easy-to-follow steps, you'll be craving this pot pie every night through the fall, just like me.
Read the original article on Eating Well.